Bac Nord

Bac Nord
Running time:105 minutes
Director:C├ędric Jimenez
Release date:18 august 2021

Mulder's Review

"In 2012, the scandal of the BAC Nord explodes in the press. It's hard to escape it, especially for me from Marseille. I quickly became interested in it, especially since I know the northern neighborhoods well and I grew up there. The media show was such that I felt the need to know what had happened. To what extent had these cops been able to cross the yellow line? But to do that, you had to have access to the cops, to the file. Which was obviously impossible. When we decided to work together, with Hugo Sélignac, my producer, I always had this case in mind. That's when he told me, "Wait, I know someone in Marseille who could introduce us to the real cops in the case. "And that's what happened. I was able to meet the whole of the BAC Nord at the time, talk to these men, start to get a feel for things. I quickly called Hugo to tell him, "We have to make this film!" - Cédric Jimenez

After his first three films Aux yeux de tous (2011), La French (2011), HHH (2017), we felt that director and screenwriter Cédric Jimenez would sooner or later fully unleash his potential to renew French cinema and more particularly thrillers. His direction of the actors, his collaboration as in his previous films with Audrey Diwan and his desire to take his actors out of their comfort zone literally burst before our eyes in his fourth film Bac Nord. We feel in each shot of his film a real desire to pay homage to the films that have marked his memory but also to give a fairly accurate vision of certain neighborhoods of Marseille that have become truly dangerous areas linked to organized crime. Bac Nord not only stands out as one of the most striking films of this year, but above all brings us to the debate and takes a very accurate look at the forces of law and order (the Bac Nord) which marked our memories in 2012 by highlighting the fact that some law enforcement officers did not hesitate to go beyond the law to confront lawless gangs.

From the very first minutes, the emphasis is placed not only on a real willingness to remain credible to each plan but also to give a real psychological depth to the main and secondary characters. The script written by Hugo Sélignac and Vincent Mazel is inspired by real facts (the use of certain television excerpts is perfectly mastered) and shows us how three policemen Greg (Gilles Lellouche), Kaim Leklou (Yass) and Antoine (François Civil) have adapted their methods, often going beyond the framework of legality to reach their end. To put an end to a trafficking network they will not only have to put their lives in danger but also have to use methods close to the gangs they face in certain neighborhoods of Marseille.

While French cinema too often seems to settle into a preconceived mold to please everyone and too often sanitize the content of images, Bac Nord will stop at nothing to show that the apparent calm of the police is often deceptive and that low blows and lies are omnipresent. This permanent quest to show the superiority of the forces of law and order is deeply revealed in the last part of the film. Yet it is difficult to take a real look at this trio of cops whose main focus is to make the streets of Marseille healthier. Faced with gangs who will stop at nothing and who seem ready to do anything to keep their very lucrative business going, this film easily establishes itself as one of the most adrenalin-packed films of this year. Reminiscent of a scene from Gareth Evans' excellent The Raid (2012), William Friedkin's French connection (1972), but also a vision of the police not far from the reactionary vision of Inspector Harry's film saga, Bac Nord is a thriller of rare perfection that will leave no viewer indifferent. It is also impossible not to think of directors such as Francis Ford Coppola (Oursider (1983) and Martin Scorsese for this undeniable will to direct excellent actors and give them enough material to break their image but also to show their true potential. We had rarely seen actors Gilles Lellouche and François Civil literally deliver performances of rare emotional power. Gilles Lellouche had already filmed with Cédric Jimenez for LA French, but his stabbing performance is remarkable and lets his immense talent as an actor shine through. In the same way François Civl, already remarkable in his latest films Burn out (2017), Celle que vous croyez (2018), Mon inconnue (2019), Le chant du loup (2019), stands out here as one of the best French actors looking for strong roles instead of lining up commercial films that are too smooth.

The director Cédric Jimenez does not neglect the second female roles and surrounds himself for the occasion with the excellent and superb Adèle Exarchopoulos and Kenza Fortas (César for the best young female hopeful for Shéhéhérazade (2018)). Adèle Exarchopoulos no longer needs to show that she is an actress invested in her roles and does not hesitate to move from comedy to dramas and thrillers. Kenza Fortas confirms that we haven't finished talking about her and that her promising debut has come true and gives way to a really gifted actress whose presence on screen is undeniable.

Bac Nord also does not take an accusing look at the forces of law and order and shows us that the boundaries between good and evil are in some cases difficult to discern. The film also leads us to question the power of politicians and journalists to report or launch more or less justified accusations. This film will leave a lasting impression on your memory long after you have seen it, will make you think, but above all it will show you that big-screen films must be seen in theaters on a giant screen and in excellent conditions (as is the case in the Gaumont Disney Village's Theater 1). We can only advise you to go and see this film in a movie theater as soon as its release is announced on December 23rd, 2020 in France...

Bac North
Directed by Cédric Jimenez
Produced by Hugo Sélignac and Vincent Mazel
Written by Cédric Jimenez and Audrey Diwan
Starring Gilles Lellouche, François Civil, Karim Leklou, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Kenza Fortas, Idir Azougli
Music by Guillaume Roussel
Cinematography : Laurent Tangy
Edited by Simon Jacquet
Production companies: Chi-Fou-Mi Productions, France 2 Cinéma and StudioCanal
Distributed by StudioCanal (France)
Release August 18 2021 (France)
Running time: 105 minutes

Seen on October 16, 2020 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 1 seat M20

Mulder's Mark: